Biden, Israel and bad politics

by Jason Shvili
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Biden halts arms shipments to Israel, further damaging his reputation here and abroad.

(JNS / FLAME) Who made this bold, righteous statement?: “The idea that we would cut off military aid to Israel, our only true ally in the entire region, is absolutely preposterous. It is beyond my comprehension that anyone would do that.”

Surprise, surprise: In 2019, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden made this proud proclamation in a PBS interview. Now, U.S. President Biden is halting weapons shipments to the Jewish state. So much for Biden’s integrity and his “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security.

The Biden administration claims it is halting weapons shipments to Israel to prevent civilian casualties in a pending Israeli offensive operation in Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold in the Gaza Strip. Considering that Israel takes more measures to prevent civilian deaths than any other country, including the United States, this is utter nonsense.

The real reason Biden is halting weapons shipments seems to be his desire to placate far-left voters, whom he believes are key to his reelection. Many of these voters are still chanting “Death to America” and causing mayhem on college and university campuses across the United States.

Yet the president’s decision appears to be backfiring. It has already met outspoken opposition from a growing number of Democrats, including a major long-time donor, as well as from most major Jewish organizations and most Republicans. Americans generally also voice overwhelming support for Israel’s war effort against Hamas.

In any case, Israel has indicated that it is prepared to stand alone and that the U.S. arms embargo won’t stop its push into Rafah, which is required to destroy Hamas in Gaza definitively.

What’s more, Biden’s decision makes the U.S. appear weak in the eyes of its enemies and sends a message to America’s allies that they can’t count on U.S. leaders—no matter what they say—to help them defend against murderous enemies.

Indeed, rather than helping Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East and one of its strongest globally, Biden—one day before the arms shipment decision—announced a sanctions waiver for enemies of Israel, strengthening their ability to purchase arms and support terror.

The president’s decision to withhold Israel’s weapons shipments from Israel has nothing to do with protecting civilians. Military experts, including John Spencer, the chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, attest to Israel’s unparalleled efforts to protect civilians in combat zones. Spencer said that, during the war in Gaza, Israel “has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in history.” In fact, while civilians will be killed in any war, especially one in which enemy rulers hide behind their citizens, Israel has achieved one of the lowest combatant-to-civilian death tolls in modern warfare.

Biden is alienating the majority of American voters who support Israel in order to please a minority of radical far-left voters who do not. He has been criticized by moderate Democrats like Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.). Torres told Axios that he suspects Biden is “pandering to the far-left” and that the upcoming election is “driving” him. Torres went on to say, “I’d like the president to do right by Israel and recognize that the far-left is not representative of the rest of the country.”

The latest polls indicate that Torres is correct. 80% of registered voters support Israel over Hamas, according to the latest Harvard CAPS-Harris survey. Furthermore, 72% support an IDF operation in Rafah. No wonder 26 Democratic lawmakers have recently signed a letter criticizing the president’s decision.

Biden’s blocking of arms deliveries to Israel will not stop an offensive in Rafah. In the words of Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, “How can we accomplish our goals of destroying Hamas and releasing the hostages if Israel is barred from entering a critical area like Rafah, which is where thousands of terrorists, hostages and Hamas leadership are?”

Indeed, Israel’s leaders are adamant that nothing, not even Biden’s decision to halt arms shipments, will stop the IDF from going into the city to wipe out Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for example, said that Israel would fight with its fingernails if it had to. Furthermore, even with the halt in arms shipments, the IDF already has enough munitions to proceed with the invasion of Rafah, according to Israel’s top military Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

Biden’s flip-flopping on support for Israel is “preposterous” and emboldens Israel’s and America’s enemies. This is the message that major Democratic Party donor Haim Saban communicated in a recent letter to the president, saying Biden’s decision “sends a terrible message to our allies in the region and beyond that we can flip from doing the right thing to bending to political pressure.”

Joining the chorus of criticism, leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stated, “Withholding security assistance and support from Israel would send a dangerous message to Iran and all its regional proxies and would undermine the confidence our allies place in commitments by the United States.”

The vast majority of Americans and members of Congress support Israel. In short, Biden is making a massive political mistake. Israel, the world’s only Jewish state and the only democracy in the Middle East—and its tens of millions of U.S. supporters—are on the right side of history. In fact, only a tiny number of American voters on the far-left support the genocidal actions of Hamas and Iran, and many of these radicals also openly call for the destruction of the United States along with Israel. History will find them guilty.

If Biden wants to preserve his self-proclaimed legacy as a staunch supporter of Israel—and get reelected—he should do what the overwhelming majority of American voters want him to do: Support Israel, the country that Biden himself called “our only true ally in the entire region.”

Originally published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME).

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